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Sex and the Black Church

African American news from Pasadena - Sex and the Black ChurchOn Tuesday March 9, the nation's capital witnessed its first same-sex marriages thus sending a not so subtle message. Washington, D.C., the seat of political power in the United States and global policy around the world,  has followed suite of only a few other states and nations.

As more and more civil unions are turning into matrimony, cultural traditions and orthodox religious faiths remain divided. 

As this social issue continues to erode traditional thought and action, same-sex marriage policy is steadily being pushed forward. Are we witnessing cultural forces as influencing religious stances?

Already the nation has seen divisive religious splits over this social issue; the Anglican-Episcopal church, because of the ordination of its first openly gay Bishop, Gene Robinson, suffered major splits not just in U.S. dieses alone; many Anglican churches in Africa and in South America have severed ties with the affiliate denomination.

More and more main line churches and theological institutions are setting policy and beginning to engage in dialogue regarding policy over this issue: is it a social-cultural issue or a theological one? Many churches and denominations remain divided. Like many extant denomination in America today, religious schisms largely have been the result of sociological contention: only a few have been the result over theological variance.

This has also been highlighted by noted sociologist C. Eric Lincoln (Race, Religion, and the Continuing American Dilemma. Rev. ed., New York: Hill and Wang, 1999, 97).

While it does remains true that much of the debate over same-sex unions exist within predominantly white Christian traditions, serious discussion lacks within Black churches.

Of the seven predominantly Black Christian denominations in America (the Church of God in Christ, the two Black Baptist's movements and the three Black Methodist movements), policy remains clear. Same-sex marriage and civil unions are shunned as theologically uncorroborated.

As the cultural tides continue to sway and theological stances altered and eased, how long (if at all) will it be before the Black church (some if not most) follows suit? Who will engage in setting policy - you?

[Dr. Jamal-Dominique Hopkins is Director of J.D.Institute and is a Professor at the Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta, GA. He is the author of "Ecclesiastes" in the African Bible: Reading Israel's Scriptures through Africa and the African Diaspora (Fortress Press), 2009, and "Duty or Responsibility? The African American Evangelical's Identity" in the Journal of African American Christian Thought (2009). Hopkins is available for preaching, lecturing, speaking or conducting workshops or seminars. You may contact him at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .]


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